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The Most Important Marie Kondo Decluttering Tips You Need to Know Before You Start Organizing

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When you’re first learning how to declutter, the KonMari Method, created by the Japanese organizing consultant, Marie Kondo, can feel overwhelming. These Marie Kondo decluttering tips can help you decide what to toss and what to keep.

the best decluttering tips from Marie Kondo

While the KonMari Method is a popular organizational philosophy, it’s a specific way of organizing your home in order to reduce clutter. It’s based on the idea that when you organize your things in a way that feels good to you, you’ll feel less inclined to keep buying more things. 

It’s a very slow process with multiple rules that many people find complicated.

Marie Kondo’s second book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, is actually more useful because it includes graphics and step-by-step illustrations. This is especially handy when trying to follow the KonMari method of folding clothing.

How do you declutter like Marie Kondo?

Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant, best known for her internationally bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Marie Kondo’s method starts with deciding what’s “truly” important to you and then only keeping those things in your home. 

You can also ask yourself whether or not an item “sparks joy” before deciding whether or not it stays.

The KonMari method follows a specific decluttering process. Start by decluttering your clothing, followed by books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and finally, mementos.

This process is designed so that you are decluttering the most sentimental items last.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

What are Marie Kondo’s 5 Steps?

In her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo describes five steps of decluttering. 

  1. Discard everything that doesn’t spark joy.
  2. Separate items into groups of “doing” and “not doing.”
  3. Arrange items from each group with a place for everything and put them in order of importance.
  4. Put your home in order from top to bottom, left to right.
  5. Keep only those things “that speak to you.”

To remember these steps (and make sure you’re decluttering your home in the correct order) get the printable KonMari-inspired decluttering checklist below!

How often should you declutter? 

The KonMari decluttering method may take longer than other methods, such as following a 30-Day Challenge or a Weekend Warrior Decluttering Guide.

Marie Kondo’s method emphasizes the importance of decluttering slowly, taking your time and focusing on what you are discarding. 

After each item, she asks three questions: Does this spark joy? Would someone else find joy in it? If I kept something, does it take up too much space in my home?

Kondo’s advice is to discard everything that does not bring you joy. If you haven’t touched it for at least six months or if there are things that you haven’t used for two years, then they should be decluttered.

Marie Kondo’s Tips and Questions to Ask When Decluttering Clothes

Marie Kondo advises that you should start decluttering by sorting through your clothes. 

In this step, you should only keep clothing that “spark joy.” Touch each item, remember when you wore it, thank it for serving its purpose, and decide whether to keep or declutter the item.

Marie Kondo’s Questions for Decluttering Clothes:

  1. Does it spark joy?
  2. Does it provide me with a sense of security?
  3. Will I use it in the next six months?

Marie Kondo’s second book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, includes a guide and illustrations for how to properly fold your clothes so that they stand upright in your drawers.

Marie Kondo's Spark Joy ebook

Marie Kondo’s Tips For Kitchen Organization

Marie Kondo’s tips can help you organize your kitchen by decluttering all the items that are not needed.

She has an efficient way to declutter your kitchen by sorting things into four categories – should be discarded, should be given away, should be put somewhere else, and finally, should remain in the kitchen.

Does Marie Kondo Recommend Storage?

For the most part, Marie Kondo does not recommend storage. Instead of purchasing new storage containers, try to use what you already have. 

She also prefers folding clothing instead of hanging it in a closet. You can find detailed illustrations of her folding techniques in Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.

That said, Marie Kondo recommends having “clearly defined separate storage spaces for each family member.”

What is the KonMari Checklist?

Since Marie Kondo created a very specific method of decluttering, it can be easy to get sidetracked or overwhelmed.

The printable KonMari Decluttering Checklist (sign up to get it below) will help you stay focused, remember the correct decluttering questions to ask, and declutter in order based on the categories that Marie Kondo outlines in her books.

Use the KonMari-inspired checklist as you declutter your entire home.

Simply declutter the categories in order, including the items in the subcategories.

The checklist also includes Marie Kondo’s five decluttering tips and three questions you should ask when decluttering each category.

Happy decluttering!

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